Let’s face it, very few things are as fun as vacationing as a family. Going out into the world to discover new places and maybe even new cultures can be an important bonding experience for families. But how can you take a nice vacation with your kids without breaking the bank or going into debt? Below we explore 3 strategies you can use to be able to afford some well-deserved travel time with your family.
Plan Far Ahead
One of the most important things to do when planning a vacation is to estimate expenses and establish a budget ahead of time. Even though you won’t know the exact price for everything, like meals and even airfare, by getting an approximation of what you’ll spend ahead of time you can determine about how much you need to save to fund your trip. Then you can divide how much you’ll need by 12 to find about how much you’ll need to put away each month to take that dream vacation a year from now.
Collecting the Money
As tempting as it can be, you should never use personal loans for a vacation. Instead, start saving as early as possible. You can open a high-yield savings account at an online bank where you’ll be less tempted to touch it. Then, have part of your paycheck go straight into your dedicated vacation account. You can also put away any extra money you get, either from spare change jar or from a side-job, straight into your vacation account. If you have anything around the house you haven’t used in a while, consider selling it on eBay or Craigslist.
You can even cut out some non-essential expenses, such as eating out or going to the coffee shop and put that money into your vacation fund instead. This is a great place to get the kids to help, too. If they get an allowance that they use for toys, get them to save their money for the vacation instead. Plan for unexpected expenses and put away a little extra whenever possible.
Look for Deals
Once you’ve decided where you want to go and what you want to do, keep your eyes open for deals. You never know when they’ll pop up. Airfare prices can jump up and down, so try to buy your tickets when they’re at their lowest. There are also plenty of websites that can help you find deals on car rentals, amusement parks, restaurants and even hotels. You can often buy these bargains months ahead of when you actually intend to use them, so staying vigilant for good deals can help you reduce your actual expenses and leave more money for fun.
Once you’ve planned and paid for your vacation, all that’s left is to relax and enjoy it! If you followed these steps and budgeted and saved your travel money, you’ll feel much better while on vacation knowing you’re not getting into debt to have fun.